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Re: [GTh] The division of the soul

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  • sarban
    ... From: Michael Grondin To: Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 6:17 AM Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 16, 2004
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 6:17 AM
      Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul


      >
      >>
      <SNIP Very Interesting Stuff I basically agree with>

      > I think that this satisfactorily explains "upper/lower" (at least in
      general
      > terms), but what about "inside/outside"? At its most obvious level, I
      think
      > that "the outside" must have been that part of a person or object that
      would
      > normally be visible - e.g., the body or flesh. Would the "inside" be the
      > light hidden within - i.e., the spirit? But the soul is inside as well, so
      > perhaps the second mention of inside/outside was intended to suggest that
      > "the inside" also itself had an inside and an outside (rather like a large
      > ball having a medium ball inside of it, and that medium ball in turn
      having
      > a small ball inside it.) Frank McCoy has developed some thoughts along
      this
      > line, and so I'll leave it at that, except to address the gender question:
      > IF upper and lower were considered gender-related, then it seems that "the
      > upper" must have been thought to be masculine (conceptually, not
      > grammatically), and IF "the inside" and "the outside" were considered
      > gender-related, then I'd venture to say that "the inside" (being the
      better)
      > must have been thought to be masculine. This would be consistent with the
      > saying that "the Kingdom is inside of you, and outside of you" - i.e.,
      it's
      > both hidden and visible in some sense, i.e., it's androgynous.

      There are various erferences eg Clement's Excerpta ex Theodoto
      and in Valentinianism more generally to masculine angels (above)
      compared to feminine human spirits (below) so I'm quite happy
      with upper being masculine and lower feminine.

      I'm less certain about inside and outside. I suspect you're right
      that inside represents the superior right hand masculine side and
      outside the inferior left hand feminine side but I find it hard to be
      sure.

      One possible argument is that inside and outside refers to Luke
      17 20-21 (kingdom of heaven inside you) but I'm not sure
      whether the parallels in GTh 3 and 113 support an emphasis in
      Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom.

      A better 'gnostic' parallel may be Gospel of Mary page 8 'The Son of
      Man is within you'

      On the whole I think your basic interpretation of inside and outside
      is probably sound but I can't find conclusive evidence.
      >
      > Afterword: In the Greek version of saying 2, the sequence of events ends
      > with the person being "at rest" - which according to the above is a
      > masculine state. But the Coptic version of saying 2 doesn't have that
      > clause - it ends with "rule over everything", which doesn't appear to be a
      > restful state. Is that because the Copts saw that the clause referring to
      > rest would suggest that the ultimate goal was a masculine state, whereas
      > they wanted the ultimate goal to be an androgynous state - as in "What is
      > the sign of the Father within you?" answered by "Motion and rest " - a
      > combination of masc and fem elements? This may be a case of Coptic
      tinkering
      > to make GTh more gnostic - more consistent with ApocJn.
      >
      Later (neo)-Platonism refers to a spiritual realm which simultaneously
      possesses opposing pairs of qualities. This is the realm of Nous
      immediately below the ultimate One to whom no qualities can be
      ascribed. Whether these ideas could have influenced Thomas I'm not
      sure. Such ideas seem to develop first in the Pythagorean tradition (eg
      Moderatus of Gades) which may support the idea of the influence of
      Pythagorean categories on Thomas.

      Andrew Criddle
    • Michael Grondin
      Hi Andrew, ... Firstly, I haven t claimed that there s an emphasis in Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom . Although it does seem clear that the inside
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 20, 2004
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        Hi Andrew,
        You wrote:
        > I suspect you're right that inside represents the superior right hand
        > masculine side and outside the inferior left hand feminine side
        > but I find it hard to be sure.
        >
        > One possible argument is that inside and outside refers to Luke
        > 17 20-21 (kingdom of heaven inside you) but I'm not sure
        > whether the parallels in GTh 3 and 113 support an emphasis in
        > Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom.

        Firstly, I haven't claimed that there's "an emphasis in Thomas on the
        inwardness of the kingdom". Although it does seem clear that "the inside" of
        an individual was regarded as superior to the outer flesh/body, it doesn't
        follow that the Kingdom was thought to be "mostly inside" (which is another
        way of saying "emphasize inwardness"). In line with what I believe to be its
        "third way" posture, GTh presents "the Kingdom" as being both inside and
        outside, so that to embrace it was to become in some sense androgynous. I
        wouldn't say that GTh "refers to" GLk, because that wording presupposes a
        textual dependence that I believe to be questionable, but Lk 17:20-21 does
        capture the same two distinct thoughts as Th3 and 113, namely that (1) the
        Kingdom isn't *geographically* distant, and (2) the Kingdom isn't
        *temporally* distant, from the contemporary earth and its inhabitants. In
        other words, it's here and then-now. So why don't (uninitiated) men see it?
        Presumably, because it exists within folks who believe in it. Uninitiated
        folks do see the people of the kingdom, but they don't *know* that they're
        people of the kingdom, so "the kingdom" is both visible and hidden, as it
        were. (I think this reconstruction of the thinking behind 113 is consistent
        with other parts of the text.)

        > On the whole I think your basic interpretation of inside and outside
        > is probably sound but I can't find conclusive evidence.

        It seems that the mind of a person is presented as being torn between the
        physical desires of the external body and the spiritual desires of the inner
        spirit. The "light" within a person is hidden from normal sight. Again, it
        doesn't follow that GTh recommends an exclusively-inward turn toward
        self-contemplation and isolation. I think that the Thomaines' "third way"
        was to act in such a way as to become "light to the world", i.e., to make
        one's "inner light" manifest to others. The decision of which "master" to
        follow, i.e., how to act in the world, seems clearly to be inner-directed,
        which is to say that "the inside" of a person is the active, "live" (read
        'male') force. The outer flesh/body is part of the "corpse" of the material
        world.

        One thing that's been nagging me about this whole picture is that certain
        sayings don't seem to conform to it, and methodologically, no analysis can
        be considered complete if it fails to confront and explain textual evidence
        which appear to place it in doubt. . To take one example, Jesus is made to
        recommend that the disciples find a place of rest or repose for themselves
        so that "the world" wouldn't "kill" and "eat" them. Given that we've
        stipulated that the concept of "rest" was generally a feminine concept, what
        sense does it make to suggest that all disciples seek a feminine element?
        Did the author of this saying assume that the disciples were male, and thus
        that this "repose" constituted a female component needed for them to become
        androgynous? (Whereas the passive female would need to be led to action, as
        in 114, to androgynize her inherent female passivity?) OK, but what about
        the notion of unity (oneness)? The author thinks that that's desirable, but
        we've labelled it a masculine element, so how does that fit with the ideal
        of androgyny? It may be that "the one" that "the two" were to become was
        thought to be an androgynous unity (reflective of "the realm of the Nous"
        you mentioned?), somewhat different than the ideal oneness of God or the
        Monad, but I confess to being somewhat confused on this issue.

        Regards,
        Mike Grondin
        Mt. Clemens, MI
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